My first exposure to shibori was 3 years ago in an online class with Glennis Dolce(aka Shibori Girl). It was love at first attempt!!
Most of my experience with shibori has been with Colorhue Dyes on assorted silks(raw silk noil, habotai, organza and gauze). There is some controversy about these dyes, and in fact one website suggests they aren't really dyes, but are in fact fabric paints! However, they are easy to use and work very well for shibori. Most of my posts will use these dyes on silks as well as rayon/linen. I will also have a few examples with Procion MX dyes on cotton and indigo(from a pre-reduced indigo kit) on cotton in later posts. Note that the Colorhue Dyes instructions say that the dyes do NOT work with cotton.
This is my basic set-up for using these dyes:
Nothing very special: gloves, disposable plastic pipettes for adding drops of dye to water(I use 8 oz disposable plastic drink glasses), a "large" bucket for rinsing, fabric, thread(I use Coats Extra Strong Upholstery nylon thread), seam ripper and scissors. At the beginning I used air-erasable pens for marking but later I switched to Frixion pens. These Frixion pens are great for marking stitching lines, and are easily removed by ironing before the stitches are pulled up and tightened. I also have a metal hemostat to grip the fabric for dipping/swooshing into the dye(though metal is not recommended!)...plastic tweezers would work fine too. And paper towels for clean-up...
To use the dyes for small swatches of fabric(6 inches across), drops of dye are added, varying from a few drops into 4 oz of water, or up to 25% percent dye in water. With silk fabrics, the fabric only has to remain in the dye solution for a few minutes(other fabric types may require longer immersion times). A quick rinse in water is then done and stitches are carefully removed using a seam ripper.
My first piece for straight stitching was on silk habotai. This fabric is very thin and slippery and my first attempts were not that successful. I won't show my paper designs for these since they are pretty obvious!
Lines stitched with a simple running stitch. I use double thread since it makes it easy to tie off the ends tightly...notice the wonky stitching due to the slipperiness of the habotai fabric:
I pull up to tighten the threads but don't knot the ends yet:
I then completely wet the fabric in water, tighten the threads some more and then securely tie off the ends. This extra tightening step really helps form good resists:
And after dyeing and removal of stitches:
Okay...but nothing exciting! The shibori resist is quite clear though.
My second piece, also on habotai, was with many straight lines(approx 3/8 inch apart), in an attempt to create the traditional Shibori pattern of "mokume" or wood grain.